This most interesting surname is of Old Gaelic origin, and is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic name "O'Flaithbheartaigh", composed of the Gaelic prefix "O", male descendant of (which in this case has been dropped, over the years), and the personal name "Flaithbheartach", from the Gaelic elements "flaith(eamh)", prince, ruler, and beartach", bright, acting. This was the name of a prominent Gaelic sept who possessed the territory on the east side of Lough Corrib until the 13th Century, when, under pressure from the Anglo-Norman penetration into Connacht, they moved westwards to the other side of the lake. Here their influence extended from Killary Harbour to the Bay of Galway, and also included the Aran Islands. The head of the sept was known as Lord of Moycullen and Lord of Iar-Connacht, and the chieftaincy was continued until the beginning of the 18th Century. The surname is found in Ulster as Laverty or O'Laverty. Hugh, son of Hugh Flaugherty, was christened on March 17th 1656 at Derry Cathedral, Templemore, Londonderry. William Flaherty, aged 22 yrs., a labourer, emigrated to New York from Liverpool on the "Barlow" on April 20th 1847. A Coat of Arms was granted to a "O'Flaherty" family which depicts two red lions rampant combatant, supporting a red dexter hand, couped at the wrists, in base a black boat with eight oars. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rory O'Flaherty, which was dated 1700, the last recognized chief of the name, during the reign of King William 11, known as "William of Orange and England, 1689 - 1702. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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